Public Values

Privatization blocks free access to science journals

Public, libraries to remain in the dark unless they cough up.

People cancelled something else to keep this, said Weir of libraries that bought full subscriptions.March 8, 2011: The CBC reports the National Research Council (NRC) has privatized its publishing arm. While advocates claim the need for "flexibility" and a "business environment," many worry that non-academics in our information-based society will suffer.

With a $12,000 fee for a subscription to the full set of journals and a $3,000 fee to researchers who choose to make their articles freely accessible worldwide, Leslie Weir, chair of the Ontario Council of University Libraries and chief librarian at the University of Ottawa, fears the impacts on frozen library budgets.

"The public has lost free online access to more than a dozen Canadian science journals as a result of the privatization of the National Research Council's government-owned publishing arm. Scientists, businesses, consultants, political aides, and other people who want to read about new scientific discoveries in the 17 journals published by National Research Council Research Press now have to either pay $10 per article or get access through an institution that has an annual subscription. The new fees have been in effect since Jan. 1, but their impact will likely only become truly apparent over time as the cost of purchasing what are usually monthly or bi-monthly journals piles upÂ…"

For the complete article, please click here.

Posted: March 28, 2011

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